First Loves

For some of us it’s a fond and fuzzy memory from school – that boy or girl we gave our last Rolo to. For others it’s a more grown-up and altogether more painful memory – you know, the kind we call a “learning” experience.

I think a first love has a significant impact on our future behaviour. Do we chase the taste of it without fear of failure? Or are we left burnt and seeking opportunities to avoid feeling “like that” again?

First loves can be fun, they can be painful; they can give us confidence, they can leave us needing a bit of reassurance; they can influence us now for the better, or for the worse and some of us may think not at all.

So my question for you is… what was your work first love?

Was it the first time you got a bonus? Was it a manager who guided you along the treacherous early-career straight and narrow? Was it the way the office used to be before that re-structure five years ago?

And have you ever considered how your work first love might affect you now?

I’ll go first to make it easy.

I still remember the feeling I had when, having been given a significant promotion to a high-performing sales team, I was the top-performing sales person immediately and consecutively for the first two months in the role.

On day one in the office I was honestly asking myself if I belonged there. The validation of tangible success, as well as the surprise I could see on everyone’s faces when I did it, were the ingredients of the first-love cocktail for me.

I’ve always been conscious in the (not inconsiderable number of) years since then of how some of my personal drive comes from seeking out those ingredients. Yes, I want to do a good job, and on top I also want to do it in a way/to a standard that surprises people.

I think harnessing the potential of the first-love cocktail recipe could be powerful for all of us.

  • Can it help you to remember your true passions and keep loving work, or find it again?
  • Could understanding each other’s first loves help us work better together in teams?
  • As a leader or manager (if you are one), how can you help all of those around you find that love for work?

The key to these might just lie where it all started. Our first love.

So speak up – it’s time for us all to get to know one another a little bit better.

What’s your work first love story?